Every year about this time:
I talk to my sisters persistently about what our children are getting for Christmas.
I try to devise a fresh take on our Christmas card.
I create a Christmas spreadsheet (spreadsheets make the nerdy list maker in me supremely happy).
I find some new Christmas music.
(I think I've found this year's addition to our collection.)
I hunt for a Christmas decoration my grandma will like so I can send it to her.
I assess my wrapping paper and tell myself not to buy more. (Sometimes I don't listen to myself.)
And I go to IKEA to see what they have.
Last night we ventured to the blue and yellow mecca. We were meeting Adam there and got there before him. So logically, we ate some cake.
Mark and I shared a piece of chocolate and Braeden and Emma shared some apple cake.
Have you had that chocolate cake? You should.
After cake, we decided to check Mark into Småland. He was excited. I typed in all of his information and got to the door where they had a new sign posted. A new policy: age no longer mattered for admittance. Now, you had to be the right height.
And Mark was at least two inches too tall.
(I don't think it's very sporting of a Swedish company to discriminate against a kid who has his Scandinavian roots to blame for his height.)
And after Mark hit the IKEA showroom, they may change the policy to keep him contained in a ball pit. He approached the store like it was a parkour course. He also had to see if every prop computer would really work.
None of them did. But I know that because he tried every. One.
We were not too far along our way when Adam texted that he was there. I turned around and started walking the wrong way. Braeden, who will be the one to make sure I don't leave the stove on in my dotage, became concerned.
"Mom! You're walking the wrong way."
I said, "No I'm not."
He said, "Yes, you are. Look at the arrows. They're pointing back that way."
"No they're not." I kept walking.
He was really worried then. "Mom, look, see we've walked this way before."
"No we haven't," I said.
I think Braeden thought my declining years had arrived.
Emma said, "Braeden. She. Is. Messing. With. You."
I don't know about this sick pleasure I get in causing my children anxiety like that. Braeden was edgy until we met up with Adam and he realized maybe I wasn't crazy after all.
The kids all want chairs that swivel.
Which I must veto because all that swiveling would make me car sick.
Finally it was time for the pièce de résistance. The Christmas decorations. There's something about straw and bright red this time of year.
They make my heart sing.